||Apr 1 1999
"Forest Blood tells the story of Jack Gilliam, a third generation logger who becomes the Northwest timber war's first world-famous casualty and then its most coveted pawn, as timber companies, environmental protestors, cut-throat news reporters and self-serving politicians (from County Commissioners to President Clinton) race one another to profit from his tragedy...Jeff Golden is an accomplished and polished wordsmith able to grip the reader's attention in a literary vise that will not let go until the last word on the last page of this outstanding contemporary novel."
Come see for yourself: summary information, and all of Chapter 1, is at www.forestblood.com. (you can order there, too).
The Midwest Book Review
[The book's opening lines:]
My guess is that if you heard Bob Edwards say your name to ten million public radio listeners while you were taking your morning pee in a plastic hose, your heart would stop. It wasn’t that big a deal to me. That’s the truth. After what’s happened the last month and a half it almost felt like the start of another normal day.
Actually the day started about ten minutes earlier when the radio clicked and Bob said, "Good morning! President Clinton travels to Philadelphia today, the start of an eight-state campaign swing for Democratic candidates in next week’s Congressional election. I’m Bob Edwards, today is Monday, October 31, and this is NPR’s Morning Edition."
Bob’s theme swelled up into the trumpet fanfare that tugs me out of sleep at the same exact second of every weekday morning. Every single one. I cling to the habit by making sure the alarm stays set at 5 a.m. on the dot, the same as when I was logging.
Once years ago, on a soaking cold April morning as we drank burnt coffee in the Company truck and waited to see who’d make the first move towards a chainsaw, I was actually dumb enough to mention that I woke up to public radio every morning. For years after that nobody on the crew called me Jack...I was Ballet Boy, then for a while just "Double-B." Wouldn’t surprise me if a few comedians around town still call me that.
"Forest Blood is a uniquely compelling fiction about core American values that are rarely touched by today's fiction.
Jeff Golden writes with compassion and candor about working class America, father-son joys and sorrows, and the changing balance between man and nature in the awesome forests of Oregon. He has painted a powerful portrait of a region in transition and made vivid the human beings who belong to it."
David James Duncan
"This historical novel, with it deceptively simple narrator, is dumb like a fox. In a stubbornly blue collar voice, yet in dissertation-worthy detail, Jeff Golden almost lovingly lays bare the Northwest's single greatest folly since the eradication of the Indian tribes: the corporate welfare program that has all but destroyed our vast native forests."
"Like a meal that is said to be both "tasty and healthful," the notion of a novel that's both relevant and readable seems unlikely, but Golden pulls it off by remaining true to his narrator and main character... an honest work driven by social concerns that's downright entertaining."
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